Bean Counter by Mignon Ariel King

The girl would purposely choose the rickety chair,
for that was part of the ceremony. She’d heard the tale
of the little boy who brought back beans for his cow.

Kneeling, she’d shuffle, sort. 1…2…3…. Pinch.
Pick up. This one, Mummy? Sometimes it wasn’t
a rock or grit of any sort, just broken; however,

her mother might say, “Oh, no. We don’t want
that in there at all. What a thorough job!”
Much later, she was a proofreader, then file-

clerk-finder of lost charts at the big university
hospital. Friends became mothers, counselors,
legal personnel. That was not for her though.

She swung in a swiveling chair on a cushion
brought from home, smiled at night, remembering
the occasional unusual beans she’d slipped

into pockets, metal lozenge boxes, and slid into
socks, tucked away where no one else coveted
them. How well she had loved each strange bean.


Mignon Ariel King was born and raised to be an English teacher, but she has been AWOL for about five years now, working 9 to 5, finishing an autobiographical trilogy which includes her first published collection (The Woods Have Words), reading at open-mics, and editing two online journals (MoJo! and U.M.Ph.! Prose).